The White Mountains of New Hampshire offers a great three-season family holiday resort area (there’s not much going on there in the spring). Here are some of my favorite things to do, places to stay, and restaurants to eat in.
What to Do in the White Mountains
The Lincoln side of the White Mountains includes a small water park called The Whale’s Tale, which is great for families traveling with young kids.
Clark’s Trained Bears is pretty famous in the White Mountains. Admission includes access to the bear show and the train ride, but not much else. It’s worthwhile for those two attractions, but make sure you arrive at the bear show with plenty of time to get a good seat.
If you have little ones, you have to visit Storyland, in Glen, New Hampshire. It isn’t nearly as flashy as Disney World, but it’s reasonably priced and has some fun attractions. It’s best for kids up to about 7 or 8 – after that, they’ll probably be bored. Skip the cliche photo opps and head to the back of the park when you arrive to see the more interesting attractions and rides. If you arrive a few hours before closing, you can visit another day for free.
Santa’s Village is located in Jefferson, in the other part of the White Mountains, and is similar to Storyland, but with a Christmas theme. It’s a little more dated than Storyland, but my kids still love it. Like Storyland, Santa’s Village is best for kids up to age 7.
Where to Stay in the White Mountains
If you are considering visiting the outlets of North Conway (no sales tax in New Hampshire!) the North Conway Grand is most convenient. We’ve stayed there a few times and have loved it. There’s an indoor and outdoor pool, a small fitness center, and free parking. Rooms are standard-sized, and include a refrigerator.
For a more luxurious stay, the Mountain View Grand has an onsite farm, spa and indoor and outdoor pool. The only negative is that it’s really in the middle of nowhere, so shopping and restaurant options are limited. It is relatively close to Santa’s Village, so if you are going to Santa’s Village, this is a great choice.
If you want a kitchen and multiple bedrooms at a good price, the Seasons Condominium Resort offers condo rentals near Storyland. The units are individually owned, and the quality does vary. We’ve stayed in one that had older furnishings, but we’ve seen others that are newly furnished. And renting a condo is always a great way to save money on a family holiday.
Independent rental homes are another great option, but make sure that you proceed with caution. It’s best to stay somewhere with good reviews, because it really is buyer beware.
Where to Eat
The Muddy Moose in North Conway is a fun, family-friendly restaurant with a good variety of menu options. The Woodstock Inn Station and Brewery in Woodstock, New Hampshire, includes two restaurants – the upscale Clement Room in the front, and the Station, which is a cozy brew-pub that is also family friendly. If you are traveling without kids, definitely eat in the much better Clement Room, but if you have kids, you’ll be more comfortable in the Station.
For down-home New England seafood, check out The Lobster Trap restaurant in North Conway, which offers great early bird specials. The food isn’t fancy, but it’s delicious!
Disclosure: I received an expense-paid trip to the Mountain View Grand.